Rivals.com football recruiting analysts weigh in on their toughest decisions when compiling the final Rivals250 for the 2012 class.
Mike Farrell: For me it was Ryan Ward, who I really liked on film quite a bit and still like as a top-end talent at Iowa, but down in San Antonio at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl he struggled with both bull rush and speed rush techniques, and didn't look quite as athletic and nimble on his feet as he did on film. Dropping him out of the Rivals100 is tough, especially since he's going to Iowa, a school that cranks out top offensive linemen. But he really struggled.
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Adam Gorney: There are two big drops that I struggled with, but they are appropriate after seeing the U.S. Army All-American Bowl week. Moving tight end Taylor McNamara down 92 spots and dropping Derrick Woods 118 spots took a lot of thinking. Both really struggled at the Army Bowl and were non-factors. I've seen both perform well in the past but after looking at all the other prospects in the Rivals250, I think both are appropriately placed. Believe me, there is no vendetta against Oklahoma, either. It just happens that those two recruits needed to move down to be fair with everyone else who deserved to be moved, too.
Josh Helmholdt: I like what Lake Forest (Ill.) Academy defensive end Faith Ekakitie brings to the field from a physical tools standpoint, but have been concerned with his lack of production and inability to dominate games. Ekakitie still needs some seasoning and I would like to see him push himself harder on the field. But he had a solid showing at the Semper Fidelis game earlier this month and we moved him back into the top 250 as a result.
Chris Nee: There wasn't a player dropped from the Rivals250 that I found to be a tough call. Honestly, it was one of the players at the very top of the second half of the release that was a tough call not to bump even higher. That player is Cincinnati (Ohio) Colerain linebacker Joe Bolden. Bolden moved up 41 spots following a strong performance at the Under Armour All-America Game week. I wasn't opposed to him moving even further, into the Rivals100. But as a group we decided to keep him just outside that designation. He is an excellent linebacker who will be a tackling machine in college.
Keith Niebuhr: I'll go with Ricky Parks, the Auburn commit from Hogansville (Ga.) Callaway. This kid is really one of the better overall athletes in the South. And he has very good size. However, he's being recruited to play tight end - and he doesn't play tight end for his high school team. As a senior, he started at quarterback, so we have no current film of him at the position he's set to play in college. When you project, that makes it very difficult. We knew about his speed, agility and escapability, but how good are his hands? Can he block? Tight end is a physically demanding position to play. Quarterbacks get hit and tackled, but a tight end has to mix it up every snap. So it is truly difficult to project how the transition will go.
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Brian Perroni: It was tough to put an order on the Nos. 2-4 prospects in the state of Louisiana, all linebackers. Denzel Devall came in as the No. 122 overall prospect while Torshiro Davis and Otha Peters were just behind at Nos. 125 and 126, respectively. Clearly all three are very good prospects and we felt all three have around the same potential in college. But to actually put an order to the trio of Devall, Davis and Peters in the state rankings will not show exactly how closely all three were ranked in the Rivals250.